KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Linn County, Iowa, formally announced its commitment to the vision of Project Impact-Building Disaster Resistant Communities in a signing ceremony held October 27, 2000, in a building destined to play a role in the community's disaster mitigation efforts.
Elected officials from the Linn County board of supervisors and the mayors of Cedar Rapids, Marion, Hiawatha, and Robins signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that pledged each community to fully cooperate with each other on the county's Project Impact goals. Linn County is the 25th community in the region to sign on with Project Impact.
AEGON Insurance announced a major component of Linn County's Project Impact initiative. The building used for the signing ceremony was once an AEGON facility. Soon, it will become a business continuity location for business to relocate when their facility is either damaged or destroyed by a disaster. Kirkwood Community College announced that its training services staff would soon occupy the space on a permanent basis. Kirkwood has agreed to vacate the premises if necessary after a disaster with as little as 24 hours notice.
Lu Barron of the Linn County Board of Supervisors stated that county residents will find safe room brochures in the Building Codes office for anyone planning to build a new home or modify an existing one.
In the past 10 years, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has spent $25 billion to help people repair and rebuild their communities after natural disasters. And that is not the total cost. Insurance companies spent additional billions in claims payments; businesses lost revenues; employees lost jobs; other government agencies spent millions more. Worst of all, however, is the loss that can never be recovered: human life.
With Project Impact, FEMA is helping to change the way America deals with disasters. Project Impact helps communities protect themselves from the devastating effects of natural disasters by taking actions that dramatically reduce disruption and loss.
Beth Freeman, director of FEMA's regional office in Kansas City, Mo., said to about 100 community leaders and Project Impact supporters who attended the event that Linn County should be proud of the efforts it has undertaken to lessen the effects of future disasters upon the community and its residents.
"Linn County, the second largest county in Iowa, possesses some of the greatest disaster risks in the state," Freeman said. "By all of us working together we can reduce the impact of these damaging events."
After the initial signings, everyone present was invited to sign a MOU and a poster that will be enlarged and placed on billboards throughout the Cedar Rapids area.
Linn County includes the cities of Cedar Rapids, Marion, Hiawatha, and Robins and is one of the fastest growing counties in Iowa, with an approximate metropolitan population of 160,000.